Bilquis—played by Yetide Badaki ("American Gods"
Bilquis—played by Yetide Badaki (“American Gods”)

The “American Gods” Twitter account shared the above first look at Yetide Bataki as Bilquis in her element. This is said to be from the key scene that producer Bryan Fuller describes below.

Starz and FremantleMedia North America’s upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel, “American Gods,” co-stars Badaki as Bilquis, one of the “Old Gods” in the novel, who was the legendary Queen of Sheba. She was also believed to be half-jinn, and was known for her beauty and for her wise leadership.

A little more background on the character and information on what to expect of the character’s translation to the screen, in an interview with Den of Geek when the adaptation was initially greenlit, producer Bryan Fuller shared some details on how Bilquis would be imagined: “One of the exciting things for us in adapting this is that we get to expand characters, so Bilquis, who is only in a chapter of the book, then you don’t see her again, is a major player in this world.”

Fuller also shared the following (SPOILERS), speaking at length about a key scene (SPOILERS) in which (SPOILERS) Bilquis devours a man with her vagina. Fuller promised to film the scene just as it’s written in the book: “One of the most amazing sequences for me when I was reading it was the Goddess Bilquis eating a man with her vagina! I think it’s beautifully written in the novel. What I love about how Neil’s laid out that sequence is that you’re in the gentleman caller’s point of view for his climax and the reeling of that. I mean, what is it like to cinematically deliver an orgasm to an audience that… more than likely, is not experiencing an orgasm at that moment, although you never know! Being in his point of view in the novel, he comes out of his orgasmic revelry and then he realises that he’s kind of hanging upside down, chest-deep from her. We plan to deliver that moment as it is written, because I believe that we can, and that’s very exciting for us because we were breaking that story and thinking, we are just going to lift that right out of the book and drop it right into the show. That came up in the Starz meeting, they were like, ‘how are you going to do that moment?’ and we said, ‘we’re going to do it exactly as written’.”

Yetide Bataki joins Ricky Whittle in “American Gods,” who stars as Shadow Moon. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.

The series began shooting in April with a 2017 premiere date eyed.